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Unformatted text preview: From The relation of habitual thought and behavior to language, pp. 134-159 in Carroll, John B., ed., 1956. The Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf. MIT Press. THE NAME OF THE SITUATION AS AFFECTING BEHAVIOR I came in touch with an aspect of this problem before I had studied under Dr. Sapir, and in a field usually considered remote from linguistics. It was in the course of my professional work for a fire insurance company, in which I undertook the task of analyzing many hundreds of reports of circumstances surrounding the start of fires, and in some cases, of explosions. My analysis was directed toward purely physical conditions, such as defective wiring, presence or lack of air spaces between metal flues and woodwork, etc., and the results were presented in these terms. Indeed it was undertaken with no thought that any other significances would or could be revealed. But in due course it became evident that not only a physical situation qua physics, but the meaning of that situation to people, was sometimes a factor, through the behavior of the people, in the start off the fire. And this factor of meaning was clearest when it behavior of the people, in the start off the fire....
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This note was uploaded on 02/18/2010 for the course LIN 306 taught by Professor Shields during the Spring '08 term at University of Texas at Austin.
- Spring '08